Community Programs

Great American
Campout

June 23 – 24

Saturday, June 23rd – Sunday, June 24th
3:30pm – 9:30am

Join us for an evening full of fun and adventure by camping out in New Canaan’s favorite backyard!

Participants are welcome to set-up their tents in the afternoon between 3:30-5:30pm. From 5:30-7:30pm, we’ll provide a classic camping-style barbecue dinner of hot dogs, grilled corn & chips (with watermelon for dessert). Lemonade and water will be available for all ages; adults are welcome to BYOB. As folks are finishing up the tasty treats from the grill, all are invited to enjoy field games, music and all around fun on the Green!

As the sun begins to set, get ready for the night time adventure to begin. We’ll fire up the campfire ring and head off into the darkness for a special early summer night hike experience. Upon our return we’ll be sure to fill our bellies with some fireside S’mores before dozing off to sleep.

In the morning, awake to fog over the meadow, deer browsing nearby and the promise of another magical day! A light breakfast of bagels, juice, and coffee will also be served.

Just bring your own tents, camp gear, and snacks, we’ll provide the rest! Access to bathrooms will be available through the night.

NCNC’s limited number of tents for rent are sold out!

Pre-registration by Thursday, June 21st at 12pm is REQUIRED.

Member Family: $85/family
Non-Member Family: $110/family

Birding Walk
with Frank Gallo

June 30

Saturday, June 30th
9:00am – 10:30am

Summer is a lovely time of year to view the songbirds here at the New Canaan Nature Center! Join us for a morning bird walk led by birding expert and former NCNC Director of Eco Travel & Field Studies/Naturalist, Frank Gallo! Bird enthusiasts of all levels are welcome. Be sure to bring your binoculars!

FRANK GALLO is a leading expert on where to find birds in Connecticut and has led birding expeditions all over the world. Frank is a tour leader for Sunrise Birding, LLC, an international birding tour company, is a member of the Connecticut Avian Rare Records Committee, and a federally licensed master bird bander. Frank is also the author of two children’s nature books, Bird Calls and Night Sounds, and is a published freelance photographer. Frank’s new book, Birding in Connecticut, a guide to where, when, and how to find birds in the state, came out May 1st. He will have copies available to sign after our walk through the woods.

Pre-registration by Thursday, June 28th at 12pm is REQUIRED.

Members: $10/person
Non-Members: $15/person

Night of 1,000 Fireflies:
A Night Hike

July 7

Saturday, July 7th
8:00pm – 9:30pm

Come and enjoy the magic of the midsummer night at the Nature Center. Join our Naturalists as we search for woodland creatures (wiggly worms & aquatic amphibians) and other enchanted mysteries of the evening, before delighting in the awe-inspiring beauty of our meadows aglow with the soft light of 1,000+ fireflies!

Pre-registration by Thursday, July 5th at 12pm is REQUIRED.

Members: $10/person
Non-Members: $15/person

Friday Family Fun Night:
Mammal Mania!

July 27

Friday, July 27th
7:00pm – 8:30pm

Join our Naturalists for a fun-filled night highlighting a wonderful array of mammals! Through hands-on interactive games & activities, learn how wild mammals in Connecticut are especially adapted to survive in their natural habitats. Find tracks & traces of mammals around the nature center property and get a close-up look at real mammal artifacts. You’ll even get the chance to meet a few of our resident animal ambassadors during this fun & engaging, family-friendly program!

Pre-registration by Wednesday, July 25th at 12pm is REQUIRED.

Members: $10/person
Non-Members: $15/person

Creatures of the Night…
Hike!

August 25

Saturday, August 25th
7:30pm – 9:00pm

How do your nighttime senses compare to those of the nocturnal animals that call NCNC home? Join us for a guided night hike and try your hand at our naturalist-led challenges to find out! First we’ll put your night vision to the test to find out if you can see as well as an owl in the dark. Then we’ll focus on your sense of smell, hearing and touch!

Pre-registration by Thursday, July 23rd at 12pm is REQUIRED.

Members: $10/person
Non-Members: $15/person

Cider
Saturday

September 15

Celebrate the fall cider season here at NCNC! Come and enjoy an early autumn afternoon of family fun with cider press demonstrations, old-fashioned games, honey bee hive tours, a pumpkin scavenger hunt, seasonal harvest crafts for kids, baked apples, and corn bread on a stick. Fill your bellies with delicious corn dogs, grilled corn, fresh cider, and baked goodies, all available for purchase.

Halloween
Spooktacular

October 26

Get into the Halloween spirit by joining us for this spooktacular celebration, NCNC-style. We’ll learn about and meet some creepy critters who remind us of All Hallows Eve (spiders, bats, snakes, & more), before getting the chance to make our very own slime. We’ll wrap up the evening by enjoying a one-of- a-kind jack-o- lantern experience. Costumes are encouraged.

Awesome
Autumn Day

November 6

Vote for Nature on Election Day! Come on over to NCNC to enjoy a beautiful autumn day with your kids and the NCNC naturalists. Frolic in the leaves and take part in field games, such as pumpkin ring toss, corn hole, and parachute games, anytime from 1-3pm. Naturalists will also be leading autumn-themed relay races across the Green!

Thanksgiving
Weekend Waddle

November 24

Naturalist-led Trail Treks depart the Sugar Shack at 10:00am & 11:00am

Grab the entire family (and any lingering holiday visitors too!) and head on down to the New Canaan Nature Center! Join the NCNC Naturalists for a healthy, invigorating Trail Trek to work off that holiday meal. As an extra Thanksgiving bonus, after our hike, you’ll also get to enjoy a FREE behind the scenes tour of our Animal Care facilities & Birds of Prey Exhibit – our way of saying “thank you” to the community.

Winter
Wonderland

December 15

Come and be transported into a whole new world as the New Canaan Nature Center transforms into a Winter Wonderland filled with fun and exciting seasonal activities for the entire family. Festivities include visits with Santa, horse-drawn wagon rides ($5/person), holiday trains, campfire with chestnuts & marshmallow roasting, our annual gingerbread house creation contest, caroling with the Bojanglers of CT, and so much more!

Holiday
Break Programs

December 2018

Come on down the hill and join other enthusiastic kids as our expert staff lead a variety of wintry adventures throughout our 40-acre preserve and celebrate the holiday season in true NCNC fashion as nature intended.

Owl Moon
Night Hike

 January 12, 2019

Let the light of the FULL moon be your guide as we explore magic in the woods and unravel the mysteries of our nocturnal neighbors, the owls. We’ll discover how owls use their keen senses to navigate the night and learn first-hand how they can hunt in the dark. We’ll even “give a hoot” and see if we can identify owls by their tell-tale calls, before getting to meet a couple owls up close & personal.

Adopt-a-Tree:
Community Syruping Program

January 26, 2019

Adopt a maple tree for the season! Learn about and participate weekly in the entire syrup making process, from tapping a maple tree to sap collections and boil downs. You’ll even get your very own bottle of NCNC-made maple syrup at our Pot-luck dinner in March.

Participants then collect sap 1-3 times a week (depending on sap flow conditions) for the entire syrup season (typically 4-6 weeks) and take part in boil downs where REAL maple syrup is made right here at NCNC.

Winter
Break Programs

February 2019

Out of school and looking for some wintry fun in the great outdoors? Come down the hill and join other enthusiastic kids as our expert staff lead a variety of winter-themed adventures throughout the 40-acre expanse of NCNC. Partake in nature games, crafts & activities!

For children ages 3-5 only.

Syrup Saturday:
A Pancakes & PJ’s Party

March 9, 2019

Bring the whole family and join us for our annual end of syrup season celebration – you won’t want to miss our famously delicious Pancakes & PJ’s party, complete with TONS of fun syrup-related activities! We’ll be serving up flapjacks, syrup, and an array of tasty toppings in the Visitor Center, while leading tree tapping demos, a real maple sap “boil down,” campfire with marshmallows, real v. fake syrup taste test, and NEW maple syrup Instagram scavenger hunt.

All are welcome and encouraged to dress in their PJ’s!

Spring Fling
Break Programs

April 2019

Out of school and looking for some spring fun and adventure? Come on down the hill and join other enthusiastic kids as our expert staff guide you on a variety of seasonal adventures throughout the 40-acres of forests, fields, and ponds at NCNC. Partake in nature games, crafts & activities!

For children ages 3-5 only.

The Great Egg Hunt &
Spring Celebration

April 18, 19 & 20, 2019

Perfect for children, ages 2-10, our egg hunts are designed for smaller groups (approximately 25 per hunt) and, in addition to the hunt, include an egg & spoon obstacle course and meet & greet with our baby chicks & bunny rabbits. Just BYOB (bring your own basket) for collecting eggs (which contain nature-themed prizes and nut-free sweets).

All Egg Hunts are rain or shine.

Spring Peepers
Night Hike

April 2019

Come explore the magic of spring and Earth Week with us! We’ll visit the Nature Center’s vernal pools and ponds to listen for the peeps and croaks of frogs and other amphibians that let us know spring is in full swing. We’ll also journey through the woods and into the meadows in search of some awesome invertebrates, birds, and bats.

Earth Day
Celebration

April 22

Come celebrate Earth Day with us on April 22nd! An annual world-wide event, join us to learn what you can do locally to help protect the environment.

Community Garden:
Adopt-a-Plot

May – November

The 2018 Community Garden is SOLD OUT!

“Adopt” a plot in our community garden for the growing season (May-November)! Our community garden provides a shared space in which local residents can  tend a plot of land, learn together, and share in an appreciation of the outdoors and gardening.

Each 4×4 foot plot is located within a fenced-in area near the Herb Garden and all participants will have access to tools, watering facilities, and community guidance. The perfect opportunity for novices and experienced gardeners, alike!

Gardeners are required to attend 2 Pitch-In Days to help with maintaining the garden throughout the season.

At the end of the season, gardeners are invited to a celebration Pot-Luck dinner (date is TBD) where all are encouraged to share a dish comprised of the produce grown throughout the year.

We hope you will become a part of our family of community gardeners!